Thursday, November 25, 2010

Touchy Junk

Glenn Greenwald is half right in his blistering attack on the Mark Ames/Yasha Levine Nation piece on the suspiciously sudden wave of anti-TSA outrage: the parts about John "Don't Touch My Junk" Tyner do reek with guilt-by-association sleazery. But Tyner is their subject really only for the first third of the article; the next third reviews some other TSA-related scandals involved self-professed "libertarians" that turned out to be set-ups or Drudgified misrepresentations—and wherein some of the involved parties had connections to Koch orgs and the like. And it ends with what is always good advice in Tea Party America:

So now let's take one more look at the TSA hysteria, and re-evaluate if we should continue to simply accept the surface narrative, or consider what we might learn by looking beneath the surface. Because everywhere you look, the alleged victims' stories often turn out to be false or highly suspicious, promoted by lobbyists posing as "ordinary guys," and everywhere the cast of characters is always the same: drawn from the cult-ish fringes of the libertarian movement, with trails leading straight to the billionaire Koch brothers' network of libertarian think-tanks and advocacy groups.

We could take it all at face value and just trust that they're all "ordinary guys." Or we could ask, "Who profits?

Emphasis mine. The last third of the Ames/Levine piece reviews some of the interests that might have a lot to gain from, say, the re-privatization of airport security—and who know a thing or two about astroturf campaigns. None of this changes the facts that (a) Ames and Levine did unfairly smear John Tyner, who, barring revelations of the kinds of connections that he has denied, may be exactly what he claims to be—a real libertarian actually concerned with human freedom rather than an oligarchitarian using love of FREEDOM!!@! as rhetorical cover for serving wealthy interests—and (b) there is much to hate about security theater quite independently of whether it's in government or private hands. But cui bono? is a perfectly sensible question to ask, and it would be a shame if, in the hubbub over John Tyner's junk, we forgot to ask it.

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